Raw recap & reactions (May 1, 2023): The problem with the WWE Draft

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Last week, I noted the shots Seth Rollins sent to Roman Reigns’ island. Initially, it all felt very personal and like someone or a bunch of someones in WWE take issue with the booking decisions around Roman’s reign. But I’m also not a completely jaded wrestling fan. I still get caught up in the moment every now and then, which is something I hope never goes away.

Anyway, Paul Heyman showed up this week and confirmed that yes, Seth’s comments are part of a larger story. Paul relayed that Roman took a lot of umbrage with “freakin’ clowns” running their mouths about Roman when they know better. Seth’s music filled the arena, followed by Solo Sikoa’s.

While Seth truly wants Roman, and we know the fact Roman doesn’t own a clean victory over Seth during his historic reign. But since Roman doesn’t wrestle on Mondays–and he’s smart enough to barely wrestle on Fridays–Seth settled for Solo.

Of course, any match with Solo is hardly settling. Especially when the Street Champ gets specific orders as it relates to the man Paul called “a joker.”

But therein lies the problem with Roman’s reign and this brand split as a whole. Roman is on SmackDown and according to Triple H, there he and his championship shall stay. Seth is on Raw, meaning its low odds we get a program between the two. That makes a match between Seth and Solo feel rather pointless because it’s not building to anything.

WWE already established Roman, unlike Brock, won’t float between shows. Not only that, but the whole Bloodline belong to SmackDown after Backlash. Again, what’s the point?

Why tease us with the a match and a feud that, at least in the near future, ain’t happening? Why book a no-finish DQ for Solo and Seth’s main event match on the go-home show for Backlash? The same show that represents the final time we see a lot of these cats together in the same ring on the same show.

That’s not on Seth and Solo. They wrestled a fine match, showed a ton of emotion, and did their absolute best. But Jimmy & Jey Uso interfered, even after some issues between Jey and Solo popped up earlier in the show. Then the Undisputed Tag Team champs & Matt Riddle showed up to even the odds.

They ran out of time and the show ended. I do have it on good authority, however, that the tapes were rolling.

But on an overall solid show, this whole thing left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I don’t like setting up something that, as of now, has no shot at payoff. Roman and Paul taking issue with Seth’s words make sense but WWE’s mediocre execution of the aftermath, including the finish, emphasized the fact that none of it mattered.

Roman isn’t wrestling Seth with the title on the line. Seth is moving on to another championship for the time being, and Solo will dodge the Tribal Chief’s wrath even though he didn’t shut Seth’s mouth like ordered.

Similarly, NXT booked a tag team championship match between four women drafted to Raw and SmackDown! That means their match means nothing. This situation, along with the one I just critiqued for most of this section, are avoidable.

And yet, here I am wondering how to feel after a main event with no larger implications and a rotten finish that sets up nothing because both wrestlers are on different shows next week.

Sure, WWE might eventually lessen the brand split rules like they always do, but the keyword is “eventually.” And as of now, “eventually” is a long time away.


The one thing that grabbed my attention for Damage CTRL’s match with Raquel Rodriguez & Liv Morgan? Bayley’s attitude and performance. Okay, two things. Bayley blamed herself for letting her team down the last time Raw came to us live from an arena, so she saw this as her redemption song.

It’s an interesting twist from her previous seemingly shady behavior. Sure enough, Bayley wanted this W. She not only got the W for her team thanks to a blind tag and a pin on Liv, but she interrupted the tag champs during one of their patented double team moves. Raquel put Liv on her shoulders but Bayley, standing on the outside of the ring, grabbed Raquel’s leg and stopped everything.

When they got the W, Bayley reacted like she won the Super Bowl. This no doubt sets up Damage CTRL for a future tag team championship match after Backlash. But if IYO SKY loses her title shot against Bianca Belair, which sounds like the safest of safe bets, that creates an interesting problem. Does a presumed tag match featuring Bayley and Dakota Kai instead of Kai-N-SKY spark some static? Or does a IYO loss, combined with a future Kai & Bayley win, leave IYO as the odd woman out?

Bianca stirred the pot during a backstage segment. She believes Dakota & Bayley hold IYO back and the Genius of the Sky needs better friends.

Maybe the story isn’t about Bayley breaking up the group but rather IYO bouncing because she believes she deserves better.

As my dad likes to say, we shall see.

Punish Me

There’s really not much to an Alpha Academy vs. Ricochet & Braun Strowman match. If you’re here for the meat, then you got an appetizer that only whetted your appetite rather than providing a full meal. In fact, if I I have one complaint of this match, it’s that we didn’t get enough Otis and Braun action.

BUT, it’s one more loss for Alpha Academy, and one more time Chad Gable seemingly let Otis down as the big man took the pin while his partner tried a very late save.

Maxxine might have a point. And that is the point.

Timz-N-Hood Chek

Brock Lesnar interrupted the WWE Draft! The nerve! Seriously though, I do like the idea that Brock basically does what he wants and WWE management is far too inept to do anything about it.

Adam Pearce tried with some keystone security cats, but we all knew the outcome.

Except Cody Rhodes provided a twist. After calling out Brock last week, Cody had revenge on his mind. His music played and while Brock, the security guards, and Adam looked at the entrance, Cody attacked Brock from behind. For Cody, turnabout is fair play and he gave Brock a bit of his own sucker punch medicine. Cody tested Brock’s mettle and while the big man walked away, he now knows Cody is about all that action.

And a special shoutout to Cody for calling Brock “Doomsday” during a follow-up interview. Let that nerd flag fly, homie.


While Kevin Owens is less than thrilled about hanging with Matt Riddle all the time, he does have his back. Not only that, but Kevin, Matt, & Sami Zayn not only have the Bloodline’s collective number at the moment, but they’re smarter than them as well. This doesn’t include Roman Reigns, so relax, Tribal Chief devotees.

But they’re also united. The Bloodline? Not so much.

Jey Uso accompanied Jimmy Uso during the latter’s match with Matt but got himself removed from the match. This left Jimmy all by himself. Matt & Jimmy battled to a standstill until Jimmy removed the turnbuckle pad. But KO reacted quicker than my inner child when the I hear the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers theme and smashed Jimmy’s head in the exposed turnbuckle.

Jimmy looked dejected as his rivals celebrated. Besides the fact that he and his brother can’t solve the enigma that is Matt Riddle and the Undisputed tag champs, he did it all dolo. No Jey and, most notably, no Solo.

Jey ran up on Paul Heyman and Solo backstage with that very thing on his mind. He asked why Solo stayed in the locker room rather than at ringside having his big brother’s back.

Apparently, Roman deemed it unnecessary since Solo has a problem that looks a lot like Seth Rollins, but we all know the deal.

This is what it looks like when someone gets iced out, and the Usos are freezing right now.


Miz apparently never learned that repeating sentences or phrases in a language you don’t know is a bad idea. Shinsuke Nakamura guested on Miz TV and, in his native tongue, called Miz the king of tiny balls. Of course, before Shinsuke translated for Miz, the A-Lister hyped the whole crowd and repeated the phrase over and over.

Humor aside, this segment set the scene for possibly Shinsuke’s first feud on Raw while also prepping us for the upcoming WWE World Heavyweight championship tournament since Miz used that as the segment’s centerpiece.

Miz ain’t winning that chip any time soon, but Shinsuke makes for an interesting component.


Nope, Omos doesn’t get a song reference. I’m not giving his squash match against Anthony Alanis. Yup, Anthony Alanis.

Take Them 5

Whew, the crowd really hates Dom. Maybe especially Texas since the crowd booed him out the building the minute he grabbed a microphone. All of Judgment Day spoke: Rhea Ripley to Zelina Vega, Damian Priest to Bad Bunny (in Spanish, a great touch), and Finn just being Finn. And the crowd booed them but it felt more obligatory. Plus, they let them speak. Dom though? Nope. I’m always amazed at that man’s heat and how he beautifully plays into that emotion.

Besides Dom, the actual MVP here is Finn. During the mixed tag match between Judgment Day (Damian, Dom, Rhea) and the LWO (Rey Mysterio, Santos Escobar, Zelina), Finn sacrificed his well-being during Rey’s 619 attempt. Rather than Damian taking the blow, Finn stepped in the way and took a shot to the back of his head.

That, along with Dom & Rhea neutralizing Santos & Zelina, respectively, spelled the end for the LWO.

Making Damian look strong and dominant is the right call. Rey taking the L in a tag match with a lot of shenanigans doesn’t hurt him. In fact, with the LWO on SmackDown and Judgment Day on Raw, it actually whets the appetite for another Dom & Rey clash. Or at least more interactions between the two. Backlash might represent the last confrontation between the two for a while, so let’s savor it.

I thought Raw was pretty solid for the most part and then that main event hit. No thank you. As I said, that’s not on Seth and Solo but rather the booking and lack of logic applied to their situation. Still looking forward to Backlash but the sooner these draft results go into effect, the better.


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